TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban held his weekly radio show on Thursday night from Bob’s Victory Grille in Tuscaloosa.
WJOX’s Jim Dunaway is the media guest host.
Highlights from Saban’s time:
- Saban said former Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain came to Tuscaloosa this week. Saban said he spent 30 minutes with McClain talking about life.
- Someone from the Green Bay Packers called Saban because former Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is interested in returning to school to earn his degree.
- Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell and Blake Barnett all gave the defense a great scout team look this week. Saban said the defense should be well prepared for the game. The entire scout team did a good job.
- We pumped crowd noise into practice to simulate the atmosphere for Jalen Hurts and the team. I challenged the offensive players to “play better around him.” I was very disappointed in how the players around him played last week. We don’t want all the pressure to be on the quarterback. We are confident in what Jalen can do. We’re going to manage what we ask him to do, and not ask him We can help him along the way, but a lot of the things he’s going to have to learn by playing.
- We need to improve on the offensive line. We had some missteps last week. We’re going to play a lot better front this week in Ole Miss. There are a lot of things we need to work on. We had a better week of practice this week so hopefully things are better in the game.
- Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram is a matchup nightmare. They use him a lot like a wide receiver. They use him all over the place. He’s tough to guard.
- We spend a significant amount of time of taking care of the ball and trying to force turnovers. We’re trying to create an importance of getting turnovers and limiting them. We didn’t have a lot of turnovers last year. We’re hoping to cut down on that number even more.
- Saban prefers to play on grass. He believes players have are more likely to get injured on turf. He mentioned two players getting hurt at Ole Miss two years ago.
- Saban’s favorite meal growing up was “having a hamburger or a hot dog, and baked beans.”
- Saban also enjoyed Grandma Saban’s soup. Since she’s passed away, “no one can make that soup.” Saban misses it.
- Everyone of the games in our division is a rivalry. We haven’t executed very well in recent years against Ole Miss.
- This year’s team hasn’t earned the reputation that they have. I’m not taking anything away from them, but they have to prove that they can do it. This is going to be a good test for us. I want to see our players show what they’re made of.
- Ole Miss’ offensive line is capable of being very good. They don’t have a lot of experience at this point, but they’re a good group. They had a tough time against Florida State’s pass rush. We need to be able to pressure the quarterback. They’re very athletic along the offensive line. They have a lot of potential. We have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That’s going to be a big challenge for us.
- A fan thanked Saban and his wife Miss Terry for their support in building the Saban Catholic Student Center on campus. Saban said he spoke to the center and told them that when he was growing up, he had to play “kick the can and hot beans and butter.”
- We have a player development program so we can get to know the players better and understand how to manage them. The people who run it give us a good sense of what guys can respond to.
- I tell players there are three things we can’t tolerate: Lack of effort, lack of accountability and a lack of focus.
- Leadership is very important to the team. Sometimes the players have to police each other because the coaches can’t be there for every single thing.
- Saban said Julio Jones had one of his favorite sayings Jones told a young player: “That’s not how we do it around here.”
- You can’t make mental errors against Ole Miss. Mental errors, missed tackles and things like that all lead to bad defense.
- Saban doesn’t think about his impact on the game. He’s more focused on coaching his team and helping them prepare. Saban wants to have trust in his organization. He also wants people to be obedient. He wants there to be input, but always wants their to be a level of trust and understanding when decisions are made. Most people understand that, but sometimes it is taken the wrong way.
Saban’s final word
- It’s important that our little bitty fans there are yelling their brains out. We haven’t played our best game yet, but our fans can help us do that with their support.